Reconfigurable Agile Tag Reader Technologies for Combined EAS and RFID capability

Fletcher, R., Omojola, O., Boyden, E. S., Gershenfeld, N. (1999) Reconfigurable Agile Tag Reader Technologies for Combined EAS and RFID capability, Proceedings of the Second IEEE Workshop on Automatic Identification Advanced Technologies, Summit, New Jersey.

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In the context of electromagnetic tagging,
we present the results from our ongoing work to unify
Electronics Article Surveillance (EAS) and Radio-
Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies using an open
architecture design for tag readers. Two fundamental
approaches are presented: microcontroller-based
architectures and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)
architectures. Using these flexible designs, along with
Direct Digital Synthesis of the waveforms, it is possible to
create frequency-agile software-reconfigurable hardware
which can detect all common varieties of EAS labels and
RFID tags. Since much of the functionality can now be
performed in software, these new reader technologies can
be implemented with little additional cost compared to
conventional readers.
We present three microcontroller-based design examples
of varying complexity ranging in parts cost from $5/unit to
$500. Ongoing work with an FPGA-based design is also
discussed. Finally, we present a common software interface
for all tag reader modules and report on approaches to
integrate such tag reader hardware into local area
networks and to the Internet using 2-way pager technology
and dial-up modems.